Why This Book
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of of Happily by Chauncey Rogers this week and am grateful for that opportunity. I’ve been a fan of the author’s work ever since I read one of his earlier novels, Cleaving Souls, last year after I connected with him via his blog. I liked his style and was eager to see the translation from a more psychological and suspenseful story to a re-telling of a classic Cinderella story.
Approach & Style
It took me about 5 hours over 3 days to read an electronic version via Kindle Reader on my iPad. The book is ~300 pages and divided into ~20 chapters each with a clever title to clue you in on the events. The story is told in first-person POV and from the perspective of Laure, the protagonist. It is a re-telling (re-appropriation, alternative version) of the classic Cinderella tale, but it has several new takes and theories on what was really happening behind the scenes with that darn shoe! It crosses many genres and would be a good read for young adults or adults, especially with the beautiful imagery, language, and multiple double-meanings in many of the lines and action.
Plot, Characters & Setting
Laure is trying to survive in a distant land with no family to support her. She’s caught trying to steal some supplies but races away in the nick of time. Just as she’s about to be captured again, she stumbles into the perfect escape route with the help of local merchant, Luc. At first, he wants to turn her in, but when an opportunity presents itself for them to both get what they deserve/want, everything changes. Meanwhile, King Justin is looking for a bride for his son, but there is a twist regarding the shoe left behind at a ball. Some fathers (or royalty for that matter!) just don’t know when to quit being so pushy. The two stories collide and threaten to change the future for everyone involved, but Laure fights to get what she wants. It’s a fairy tale… wanna guess what happens?
Although it’s a fairy tale, the language is more modern and realistic. Rogers has done a fantastic job removing the fluffy aspects of the original story by adding a touch of rawness and humor. It’s very easy to read his work without getting caught up in too much description or too many unnecessary details. There’s always a good balance of imagination, facts and ample window room for the reader to fill in the blanks when you read a Rogers novel.
The re-telling of the story is quite brilliant. You of course have your shoes, the ball, a prince and a girl trying to get away from a poor life… but she is not Cinderella… and you know that from the very first page when she begins talking. Sassy, direct, and tough are the three words that most come to mind. When you dive into the other characters, you’ll find no true step-sisters, but a pair of reasons/people that hold her back. Not all the characters are picture-perfect pretty models who we often see in these types of stories. Rogers took the facts, threw them high up in the air, caught a few as they landed, twisted and tortured the rest, thus turning everything we knew upside down!
What I enjoyed most about this story is the clever use of modern afflictions or situations in a timeline that could be almost any period in history. It’s less about the setting and characters, and instead more about the challenges we face in being who we are. One or two facts about our appearance or lot in life do not define who we can be or what can happen to us. That’s where I found myself intrigued and surprised throughout the course of this wonderful read.
It’s a story you will enjoy reading if you find humor and smiles in seeing how people can very differently interpret the comings and goings of Cinderella and her prince. Some parts will speak more loudly than others, but in the end, you’ll have a very fun connection to familiar people in an alternative setting. You’ll know it’s the same story, but it will also be something fresh and new. Kudos for such an insightful glance into what makes characters tick.
I recommend this book, as well as several others written by Chauncey Rogers. His imagination will surprise you and his writing will impress you. Another winner! Be sure to pick this one up on April 3rd when it is officially published.
More Details on the Book
Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.
No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin. Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, make it.
Links to Buy or Read More:
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.